It’s more than an hour before the race is getting underway and already people have staked out their claims for the Tour of Utah, eager to catch a glimpse of the blur of wheels and color go by. I have to say it seems to be one of the unfortunate circumstances of cycling races. Everything is all adrenaline pumping awesome–for about 5 seconds.
See that blur… the crowd barely has time to register a biker is even going by!
Bikers grabbing breakfast in the VIP tent
Cyclists average anywhere from 20-70 mph, depending on the terrain so unless you catch them on a particularly steep uphill climb, you’ll catch the break for a second and then the peloton for the other 3 seconds. But by some lucky circumstances I found myself in one of the VIP Caravan cars that follow along on the winding route of the race. I would be able to follow all the inside action of the tour during Stage 6 (thanks to sponsor connections via my uncle).
When you’re in the car, you head out in front of the group and then drop in behind the break cyclists when they have at least 2.5 minutes distance from the peloton. It’s a wild ride, swinging around some of those mountain turns, apparently the only adrenaline fix some of the retired racers who drive the cars still can get. I imagine it’s also a kind of funny site, all of us just following this group of bikers. The cyclists are accompanied by a motorcade of police officers, photographers, videographers, support vehicles, an ambulance, and helicopter.
The VIP ride took me all the way around from downtown Salt Lake City, up into the canyons, around small Utah towns, up towards Park City, and finally dropped me in the VIP tent at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon at Snowbird Resort. Twenty minutes later, Joe Dombrowski fist-pumped his way to the finish line of Stage 6 after riding a brutal 110 miles.
Joe Dombrowski celebrates right before crossing the finish line of Stage 6 in Snowbird during the Tour of Utah.
Pain… this is what 110 miles full of mountain climbing biking does to you.
Is it just me or do some of these guys not look quite old enough to be drinking beer… ??
For Stage 7 I was back in the world of the Tour of Utah proletariat, trying to hold onto a spot along the barriers separating the crowd from the road. The riders took two loops around Park City and then sped off for some 70 odd miles. A few hours later they returned, careening up Main Street and into the finish line with a blur.
This is basically what you get to see… the start
And if you feel like standing out in the sun you can watch the monitors.
Though he didn’t win stage 7, Joe Dombrowski managed to take hang onto his yellow jersey and the top spot for the Tour of Utah, less than a second ahead of Michael Woods. Meanwhile, Team Colombia snagged the green jerseys for the best overall team. (all results here).
Yay! Winners for 2015 Tour of Utah 🙂 (1 – Joe Dombrowski, 2 – Michael Woods, 3 – Brent Brookwalter)